Business Irish

Saturday 16 December 2017

Offshore firm wins €24bn Nama contract


Certus, which is owned by two Isle of Man companies, has won a lucrative tender to manage part of the circa €24bn loans due to transfer from former Anglo Irish Bank to Nama.

The debt management company formed by former executives from Bank of Scotland Ireland, which had a disastrous lending record, will now manage other disastrous debt fallout on the Irish Government's behalf.

Formed to manage the wind-down of Bank of Scotland Ireland's €32bn Irish loan book, Certus also has contracts with State-owned AIB and PTSB.

It is likely to hire former IBRC/Anglo staff to carry out its new contract. At least 300 staff will be added to Certus's current 1,100 employees to handle this new business, an almost doubling of its numbers within a year.

Certus is owned by six directors – former Bank of Scotland chief executive Joe Higgins, Martin Akers, Gavin Lyng, Siona Meghen, Tom Fitzpatrick and Mark Mohan.

Mr Higgins worked for Bank of Scotland Ireland from 1996 and launched its retail operations in 2005, before being appointed COO and finance director in 2006. He joined Bank of Scotland's board in 2003. Senior roles included asset finance.

Certus will manage the IBRC/Anglo portfolio of loans relating to commercial property, residential investment and development and business banking on a five-year tender, with the option to extend to a further two.

Pepper Asset Servicing and Serco will manage the IBRC portfolio of personal and residential mortgage loans, connected mainly with Irish Nationwide.

Certus is owned by Aspira and Certus Investments, two Isle of Man-based entities about which no director or account information is available.

Mr Higgins took over from Mark Duffy as CEO at Bank of Scotland Ireland in 2009 and oversaw its exit from Ireland. He then became chief executive of Certus.

A Certus spokesman said it files tax returns and pays tax in Ireland, as do its directors.

"We readily provide full financial information and corporate structure details to our clients," he said, "as we did with Nama as part of our tender submission; however, Certus does not make this information publicly available."

Irish Independent

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